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Lita (All or Nothing)
Begins: Apr 28, 2011
Date: Sun, Jul 10th, 2011
Start: Streamside Campsite
Trip Distance: 683.3
Entry Visits: 1,838
Journal Visits: 35,332
Guestbook Views: 1,695
Guestbook Entrys: 22
While each member of my new group is eager to begin our adventure in the Sierras, we never made a plan as to what time we would get hiking this morning. We all moved around slowly, unsure as to when we should shoulder our packs and hit the trail. I unpacked my backpack completely (only to repack it again to posisition my bulky bear canister more comfortably), Condor studied his maps and GPS, Chainsaw reclined against his pack, and Detour danced around gleefully to music on his ipod. Triple Digits and Bushwacker had taken off hours ago, obviously sticking to a smarter schedule than our group, haha. Finally around 10:30 or so we realized that we were all waiting on everyone else to start moving (group psychology at its best) and we finally hit the trail.
The day's excitement for me started when we came upon a beautiful open meadow. Chainsaw stopped infront of me and pointed out toward the horizon, "You see those snowy mountains?" he asked me. I looked past him, in the distance I saw several beautiful snow capped peaks. "That's where we are going!". A huge grin spread across my face, those mountains were just what I was waiting for! I was really in the Sierras! For the next hour I hiked on singing a happy tune and feeling as light as air. Everything around me was gorgeous and I was having the time of my life.
Around 2:00 or so I arrived at the south fork Kern River where my fellow hikers were eating lunch. I collapsed in the lush green grass beside the river to soak my aching feet; while the hiking is beautiful, my feet are already revolting against my rigid hiking boots. The cool clear water felt wonderful around my aching soles and I took in my peaceful surroundings. While the Kern appeared calm and benign in the warm afternoon light, the wooden bridge to my right was in place to keep hikers safe in early season when these waters become a raging torrent. Flocks of swallows nesting under the bridge soared around us while Detour dove into the chilly water and splashed around like a little kid. I couldn't help but smile; this was paradise. Alas, we could not stay sprawled around the river forever, this was a hiking trip afterall.
Unfortunately the 2nd part of my day was not as calm and easy as the first. Before long the trail took a sudden and very steep turn; under the weight of my full pack my shoulders were aching and I was struggling to catch my breath. To make matters worse, the recent afternoon storms have caused small floods that have completely eroded the trail. Eventually I was stuck at a crossroads between 3 soggy stream paths, unsure of which (if any) were the trail. Luckily Condor was with me and was able to apply some of his map reading skills to our situation. While I am probably better at reading a topographical map than the average person I still do not feel confident enough to rely on my cross country navigation skills, so I followed Condor closely and kept my fingers crossed. We tramped up the steep terrain, consulting the map often and keeping an eye out for the signs of other hikers. Just as I was starting to get nervous, we came upon footprints and a pile of rocks leading us in the right direction.
As the sun began to set in the sky we finally arrived upon an outcropping of granite where we found Detour and Chainsaw seated around a crackling campfire. I set up my tent alongside the trail (bad etiquette, I know!) and quickly pulled on my extra warm clothes in defense against both the mosquitos and the encroaching cold. I settled around the campfire with the rest of my PCT hikers and prepared pasta and chocolate pudding under a twinkling night sky. There wasn't a cloud to be seen and the stars were shining as bright as lanterns... in that moment, life was perfect.
Pacific Crest Trail - 2011
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